Testimonies and Quotes about Human Rights

Check out these inspiring quotes from influential human rights advocates and testimonies from Student Task Force alumni.

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world… Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Former U.S. First Lady, 1948 (COE)

“To recover from the most wide-reaching and severe cascade of human rights setbacks in our lifetimes, we need a life-changing vision – and concerted action to follow up. We need a human rights economy; human rights-based development; and societies that, in all their diversity, share bedrock commitments to reduce inequalities and advance all human rights. We need to anchor our States in the sound foundation of justice – knowing that this effort will build the resilience and deep public trust all Governments seek to inspire.”

Michelle Bachelet, Former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2021 (UN)

“The [UDHR] embodies a common language of our shared humanity, a unifying source, at the heart of which lies human dignity and the duty of care we owe each other as human beings. The light of the declaration can shine… but this requires young people to give the declaration a new life, to take ownership of it, and to repurpose it to meet the needs of our times and the challenges of our future.

Volker Türk, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2022 (OHCHR)
“By advocating for human rights, I learned that there’s so much work to get done in the world and it is completely tangible. I also learned that I am not just a citizen of the US, I am a citizen of the world; we each have a responsibility to help those near AND far.”

Audrey Abergel

STF Alumni, Valencia ’12
“Through the program, I met some truly inspiring human rights activists and educators whose words and actions still influence me today. Most importantly, however, I gained a respect for the value of a human rights education that I plan to carry with me through life.”

Peter Jebsen

STF Alumni, Palisades ’18
“My experiences in STF imbued me with a strong belief in the importance of human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular. That has shaped almost every aspect of my being from how I interact with people to what I am studying.”

Ginny Smith

STF Alumni, Crossroads ’08

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